Brain and Behavior, Mental Health

Parents and Mental Healthcare

More and more teenagers and children are in need of mental health services (13.4% of all teens and children), but only a slim percentage of these kids are actually receiving the help they need. Responsibility lies on the parents of these teens and children to help them get the services they need. As a parent, you would want your child to be mentally healthy, right? Researchers gathered information from 44 different studies on why parents are not assisting their children to get the mental health services that they need.

After evaluating all the available data, the researchers found that parents have the most problems with financial aspects, availability of mental health services (location/appointment times/transportation), and structural problems with the mental healthcare system. There is also evidence that many parents have a certain attitude towards the mental healthcare system. These attitudes are focused on negative past experiences with mental healthcare, trust and confidence in professionals, skepticism about the treatment process, and negative attitudes towards receiving help.

Mental health disorders that are developed early in life are likely to cause lifelong mental problems and can cause poor academic success as well. We need to use this data to inform parents about the mental health care system and how beneficial it is to not only the youth, but all people. The mental healthcare system can also be improved using this data by identifying and strengthening its weaknesses. It is crucial that all children are able to get the help they need in living a happier, healthier life!

European child & adolescent psychiatry, 2017;26(6), 623-647

Reardon, T., Harvey, K., Baranowska, M., O’Brien, D., Smith, L., & Creswell, C. (2017). What do parents perceive are the barriers and facilitators to accessing psychological treatment for mental health problems in children and adolescents? A systematic review of qualitative and quantitative studies. European child & adolescent psychiatry26(6), 623-647.

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